Thank you Harry Reid! It's about time I heard a Democrat start to push back against the rhetoric we've been hearing on Social Security. David Gregory tried to get Reid to say that we need to go after Social Security to solve our "debt problem" (the one they only started caring about after a Democrat got elected as president) and Reid held firm that the program is not in crisis and is going to be solvent for years to come.
Frankly I'd like to see them leave that percentage right where it is now and take the cap off of the terribly regressive tax, but I would imagine it will be a cold day in hell before we see the politicians allow that to happen.
DAVID GREGORY: What about the role of government, however? Under President Obama the federal debt has expanded by 32 percent. Are people rightfully concerned about the role of government under this President, under Democratic leadership?
HARRY REID: People are concerned about the debt, as they should be. But let's just go back a little bit and look at history. It's not as if we Democrats don't know how to run government. Bill Clinton had a program called PAYGO. If you're gonna have a new program, pay for it; either by increasing revenue or cutting other programs. We did that, and as a result of that we were paying down the debt.
And during the eight years of Bush, the first thing they did is get rid of the PAYGO rules. And we have them now reestablished. And we-- this last Congress, 111th Congress and President Obama, found ourselves in a hole so deep, you couldn't see the top of it. And we're working out way out of that hole.
DAVID GREGORY: Social Security-- how does it have to change? What they put on the agenda is raising the retirement age, maybe means testing benefits. Is it time for Social Security to fundamentally change if you're gonna deal with the debt problem?
HARRY REID: One of the things that always troubles me is when we start talking about the debt, the first thing people do is run to Social Security. Social Security is a program that works. And it's going to be-- it's fully funded for the next forty years. Stop picking on Social Security. There're a lotta places--
DAVID GREGORY: Senator are you really saying --
HARRY REID: --where you can go to save money.
DAVID GREGORY:-- the arithmetic on Social Security works?
HARRY REID: I'm saying the arithmetic in Social Security works. I have no doubt it does.
DAVID GREGORY: It's not in crisis?
HARRY REID: The ne-- no, it's not in crisis. This is-- this is-- this is something that's perpetuated by people who don't like government. Social Security is fine. Are there things we can do to improve Social Security? Of course.
DAVID GREGORY: Means testing. Raising the --
DAVID GREGORY:--retirement age--
HARRY REID: --don't--
DAVID GREGORY: --do you--
HARRY REID: --I'm--
DAVID GREGORY: --agree with either of those?
HARRY REID: --I'm not going to go to with any of those backdoor methods- you know, to whack Social Security recipients. I'm not going to do that. We have a lot of things we can do with-- this debt. It's a problem. But one of the places where I'm not going to be part of picking on is Social Security.